The first time Stu Allen saw Professional Wrestling on TV he was hooked – it was to be a life defining moment.
For more than quarter of a century Stu has practised his craft in venues the length and breadth of not just the UK but the world.
It’s no real surprise then that when the man known to his fans as ‘Dominator’ announced he would be lacing up his wrestling boots for the last time at a show in East Sussex College in Hastings town centre in October there was a social media earthquake.
“It just feels like the right time,” says Stu, “I’ve been wrestling for more than 25 years and at the end of the day it takes a big toll on your body.”
He discussed his plans to retire with his wife Tarnya: “I wanted to know Tarn was comfortable with my decision, that she understood why I wanted to stop now and once she was happy with my decision I was able to tell our trainees and through social media I made the announcement to our fans and followers.”
Back in the middle of May, writing on social media Stu told those fans: “…I will be having my very last match this October 5th. I’m at a stage where not only is my health not the best, but my back… needs regular treatment.
“Other than teaching, I don’t get the satisfaction from it and I’m taking up spots that could be occupied by younger people who do. This is my 25th year in the ring, and it’s the right time.
“With that said, I hope you will join us in Hastings on Saturday October 5th, for what will be a hell of a party.”
The tributes flowed almost immediately, top UK wrestler Justin Richards said: “News of the retirement of the man who brought the face of legitimacy to British professional wrestling for almost three decades is a great loss for the business.
Taking care of business…
“Thankfully, he will still be a part of the training scene, where he will continue to deliver the type of blood, sweat and tears coaching that I respect him so much for.”
Taylor Leigh, one of Stu’s top trainees wrote: “The first wrestling show I ever went to I saw the Dominator beat Raven. In the ten years since I’ve had the privilege to study and learn from him, he has allowed me to live my childhood dream, and I can never thank him enough for that.
“It’s a shame to see you retire, but after 25 years of being the British Beast you’ve more than earned it. Thank you for making me want to be a wrestler, for teaching me to be a wrestler, and for everything you do for all of us at the EWW academy.”
Marc Parry who referees many of the EWW wrestling shows said: “So the man who I essentially consider my wrestling dad, has announced his in-ring retirement. Not many people know that if Stu hadn’t taken the chance on me back in October 2011 I would have packed in this reffing stuff and not had the opportunities I’ve had.
“Stu has always treated me extremely well, never afraid to dress me down when needed, but also lifting me up when I’ve needed it and reassured me I’m half decent at this thing I do.
“Come October 5th as I ring the bell for the last time for him, I genuinely know it’s gonna be an emotional one.”
During his years in the business Stu has seen the best and worst of it. Not just in terms of its popularity either but he has seen trainees and aspiring wrestlers being mistreated both physically and in practical ways as promoters took advantage of those trying to make their way in the business.
As a teenager Stu’s focus on becoming a professional wrestler was absolute. His determination was such that he travelled all the way to Florida to train and to learn from one of the biggest names in the business; the flamboyant former World of Sport Wrestling bad-boy Adrian Street: “He made me train three times a day whether I wanted to or not and we’d have to do chores, sometimes working in the blistering heat of the day – it was hard, but it was good. I might have learned my craft the hard way but I learned it the right way!”
Stu remains friends with Adrian and his wife Linda to this day.
With wife Tarnya, Stu has been at the forefront of cleaning up the business and making sure those trying to make their way are treated fairly. He’s not been afraid to call out those he knows have not been straight and he has been instrumental in making the profession a more level playing field for young women in particular. He is happy to know too that his interventions have made those not fit to be in the business to have second thoughts about their involvement.
While Stu might be walking away from the competitive side of the business he’ll still be a big part of it. For more than a decade he has run twice-weekly training classes in Hastings. These days those classes are held at Fighting Tigers Gym on the Castleham Industrial Estate on Sunday afternoons and Tuesday evenings and they have never been busier.
Stu has also been organising more EWW shows, he now runs six events a year – not that long ago it was only two. And on top of all of that he holds down a full time job as a Funeral Director.
He is optimistic about the future of the EWW academy and about the sport in general: “There is so much talent coning through,” he says.
Every week Stu and Tarnya are seeing up to 25 students come to train and a significant proportion of those students are going on to take part in shows, and that’s just one reason why EWW is staging an increasing number of events.
Of course it’s one thing to have the competitors, it’s another to have the audience to come and support the show and Stu has been heartened to see the number of people coming to not just his shows but to wrestling shows all over the country, growing steadily in recent years: “All our shows are sold out these days and sold out well in advance,” he says.
So if you want to catch one of the legends of British Wrestling before he delivers his final body slam on an unsuspecting opponent you only have two more chances to see Stu adopt his alter-ego ‘Dominator’. The first of those shows is on July 27th at Summerfields in Hastings and then on October 5th for the grand finale to a amazing career.
Stu’s not doing things by half, he’s bowing out with a very special tag-team match when he and Tarnya, aka Skarlett, come up against their old enemies Cyrus Shade and Titan and to add an extra dimension the battle will be inside a locked cage – not for the feint hearted but certain to be a major crowd pleaser.
For tickets to either the Summerfields event of the October 5th event and for more information about EWW go to the website at http://www.eww-wrestling.com/
To read more about EWW follow these links